Women’s March begins a new conversation on inclusivity

This year, Denver Women’s March returned with the same pink hats but new grievances.

Mary Roose, and her friend who wished to remain anonymous, walk down the 16th St. Mall on Jan. 20. They wore pink hats that protest comments made by President Trump during the 2016 election. Photos by Ali Watkins | awatkin9@msudenver.edu

President Trump’s actions have pushed people across a spectrum of ethnicities, ages and genders back into the streets to protest. According to the Denver 7, close to 150,000 people attended this year’s march. People gathered early morning in Civic Center Park for  a pre-rally.

The attendees shouted and held signs from the early morning until the afternoon rally. Marchers gathered once more in the Civic Center Ampitheatre where roughly 34 speakers and performers took the stage.

“Today we march for our sister, mothers, grandmothers, and yes, for our sons. We march for the underserved and for justice for all, for human rights and equal

rights,” said Mayor Michael Hancock during the pre-march rally.

MSU Denver student Ismahan Afrah performs a spoken word poem at the afternoon rally. In her poem, she encouraged the audience to empower women of color.

While last year the march focused on women’s rights and on the 2016 presidential election results, the 2018 Women’s March on Denver focused on not just the rights of women but the rights of LGBT members and undocumented immigrants. Executive orders, like the travel ban and the ban on transgender people in the military has sparked controversy in the immigrant and LGBT community. 

The organizers of the Women’s March, March on Colorado, board members Tish Beauford, Jolie Brawner, Lisa Cutter and Jessica Rogers encouraged protesters to march for those causes.

“Today we are honoring the contributions of women of color by inviting people of all colors, genders, abilities and ages to join us at the front of the march,” Cutter said.

The crowd began its march down 14th and Bannock, lead by the four board members who cried in unison,“We march!”

Mary Roose attended last year’s march in Colorado Springs to protest the election of President Trump. This year, she marches in the streets of Denver. Enthusiastic about the march, Roose spoke about decade long support for immigrant rights, saying she took part in an anti-deportation march 10 years ago.

“To have to march for it again is just disheartening,” Roose said about the rescind of DACA.

Somalian MSU Denver student Ismahan Afrah performed a poem about the prejudice she faced for being a Muslim, wearing a hijab and for being a woman color. Afrah said that performing spoken word poetry is a privilege since she comes from a place where women have their voices silenced.

Alondra Kingman and Haley Walsh laughing on top of a column in Civic Center Park while watching the afternoon rally on Jan. 20.

“I am the daughter of many,” Afrah said, before naming female activists of color such as Elaine Brown and Angela Davis. In her poem, Afrah said that she wouldn’t have the opportunity to speak freely without the sacrifices other women of color made.

One couple, Haley Walsh and Alondra Kingman, sat on top of a column during the rally while they embraced each other. Walsh joked that there’s a perk to attending the march with her girlfriend of seven months. They could make out while advocating their beliefs.

“I’ve gone to a lot of protests by myself,” Walsh said, “but it’s something beautiful to share it with someone you love.”

Kingman hopes that the Women’s March won’t disappear after the Trump administration ends.

“I think it should keep going every year,” Kingman said. “It’s important to have these conversations. The same ones as well as new ones.”

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